Spiced Up Green Beans

Green Beans
Green Beans are an everyday staple in my household. We cook it almost once a week.  Green beans are also called Fansi Nu Shaak.

Cooking Difficulty Level:  Easy
Cooking Time: 20-25 Minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan


2 Pounds Fresh Green Beans
2 Tablespoons Oil
1/2 Small Chopped Onion (optional)
1/4 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric
2 Teaspoons Coriander & Cumin Powder
1 Teaspoon Ajwain
Pinch Asafoetida
Fresh Grated Coconut to garnish
Chopped Cilantro to garnish
Salt to taste
Washed & Cut Green Beans

How to prepare:

  1. Wash, trim, and chop green beans into small pieces.
  2. Heat oil in a medium sauce pan with a lid.
  3. Add Ajwain, Asafoetida, and Green Beans.
  4. Add Salt, Turmeric, Coriander, and Cumin Powder.
  5. Stir well and cover.
  6. Reduce heat to low, mix well, and cook for 10 minutes until done.
  7. Garnish with Cilantro and Chopped Onion.
  8. Slivered Almonds and Shaved Coconut Flakes can also be used as garnish.
  9. An easy variation of this recipe would be to add small cut potatoes, chopped onions, or peas.
  10. It is ideal with Roti,  Rice and any kind of Dals.

Khichdi: A Versatile Rice Dish

Khichdi is a one skillet meal. It is one of the most popular comfort foods in India and even here in the US, khichadi is an ideal meal any time. After a long trip or a hectic weekend, Khichdi is a great Sunday night dinner.
Plain Khichadi is made with Dals only. To make it a larger meal, I add vegetables or whatever I have on hand in my refrigerator. There are many variations using different kinds of Dal and vegetables. But the most commonly used are potatoes, onions, eggplant, peas, and carrots.
This is the recipe of plain Khichdi. Using Shelled Mung Dal adds more fiber to the dish than regular polished Dal. This is the true authentic recipe for Khichdi, which is passed down from generation to generation and eaten with Potato Shaak or Subji.
Rice and Shelled Mung Dal

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan


 1/2 Cup Rice
 1/2 Cup Split Mung Dal with Shells
 1/2 Tsp Cumin
 1/4 Tsp Turmeric
    1 Small Piece Grated Ginger
    1 Tsp Clear Butter or Ghee
(For Vegans, use Vegetable Oil)
Salt to taste

How to prepare:

  1. Wash rice and Dal. Soak for two hours.
  2. In a heavy sauce pan, add Rice, Dal, and 4 cups of water.
  3. Add salt, turmeric, cumin seeds, butter, and grated ginger.
  4. If desired, vegetables can be added now.
  5. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
  6. Cover and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.
  7. Stir occasionally until done.
Note: If you own a pressure cooker, it is very useful for recipes using rice and beans, like this one. I mix all the ingredients, including the vegetables and spices, in the morning so when I am come home from work, I can just turn on the stove for the pressure cooker.  It takes ten minutes and is ready to eat.
Khichdi goes very well with Kadhi and pickles, and it is often eaten with Potato Subji and Kachumber Salad.  I also like Patak’s Pickles, which are not too spicy and add flavor to the meal.  Papad is also very common with any rice dish.  It is a must, especially with Khichdi. Enjoy!

Refreshing Lychee Ice Cream

Recipe by Guest Chef Tushar
Summer is the season for ice cream. Last February, I toured New Zealand and I was surprised to find so many different flavors of ice cream. With so many choices available, I tried a new one every day. For those not familiar with lychees, they’re a fruit with fragrant perfume-like taste. Recently, my cousin treated me to this homemade ice cream. I cannot deny that it was delicious.
Fresh lychees

Fresh lychees

Lychee Ice Cream

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy

Cooking Time: 10 Minutes 


2 cans Drained Lychees
8 oz Cool Whip
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
8 oz Condensed Milk
8 oz Evaporated Milk
Flavor/Essence of your choice:
• Optional & Available in most grocery stores
• Pineapple & Pineapple Essence is Recommended
• Pistachio, Almond Powder, and Saffron can also be added


How to Prepare:
  1. Mix all ingredients and add to ice cream maker.
  2. Add ice and salt to run ice cream maker.
  3. Let the maker run for 30 minutes.
  4. When finished, if the consistency is soft, store the mixture in the freezer until firm.
  5. Enjoy!

Sabudana Na Vada

Sabudana Na Vada
Sabudana is the Indian term for tapioca. Sabudana Na Vada is a dish traditionally eaten on days when a person is fasting from grains, since it uses potatoes and rice flour instead of wheat flour. However, it has been one of my favorite foods since childhood. They may have a high starch content, but they’re so incredibly tasty, it’s worth it.
Recently, I read an article in The New York Times about a famous place for Sabudana Na Vada near Mumbai, India. One small, local shopkeeper has perfected the recipe to the point that, so far, no one can duplicate it. I recently received some sabudana as a treat from my cousin’s mother and I loved them so much that I had to share the recipe with my readers.
For the most authentic experience, you can make this dish with Sago, a starch extracted from palm stems and most frequently sold in the form of pearls. In Africa, sago is eaten almost every day and in Brazil, I have tasted sago pancakes for breakfast.
If sago proves difficult to find, you can easily use tapioca, which is easy to find in any American grocery store.

Sabudana Na Vada

Cooking Difficulty Level: Medium
Cooking Time: One Hour


1 Cup Sabudana or Sago Pearls
2 Medium Potatoes
1 Tsp Green Chili Paste
1 Tsp Grated Ginger
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1 Cup Ground Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
3 TBsp Rice Flour
Salt to taste
Frying Oil
Soaked Sabudana
Ready For Frying

How to Prepare:

  1. Cover Sabudana with water in a bowl and soak for one hour.
  2. After an hour, spread it on a towel so any excess water will drain.
  3. Boil potatoes and then mash them.
  4. Mix boiled potatoes, sabudana, ground peanuts, and spices.
  5. If the consistency is right, it will form a dough.  It should make almost 10-12 balls.  If it does not form into balls, pieces of bread can be added (but then it is not gluten free). You can also add a little rice flour.
  6. Roll the balls into rice flour and deep fry them in vegetable oil at medium heat.
  7. Enjoy!!!
Delicious with Green and Red Chutney

Click here for cilantro chutney recipe

Papaya Salad

Finished Papaya Salad

Papaya is easily available all over India and Thailand. One of my favorite salads is made with papaya. It is healthy, tasty, and adds exotic flavor to any meal.  I’d like to share my version of the traditional Indian way of making papaya salad.  It is low in fat, packed with antioxidants, and high in vitamins.
Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes
Recipe Type: Vegan
1 Small Slice Green Papaya (check freshness by denting
with fingernail–milk should ooze out)
1 Small Green Chili cut into piece lengthwise
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Mustard Seed
2 Tsp Oil
1/4 Tsp Asafoetida(optional)
Salt to Taste
Fresh Chopped Cilantro

How to prepare:

  1. Wash papaya well. Peel and grate with grater.
  2. Add sugar, salt, lemon juice, and mix together.
  3. In a small butter warmer, add oil on medium heat.
  4. Add mustard seeds, green chili, Asafoetida and turmeric.
  5. Add mixture on top of grated papaya. Add cilantro.
  6. Mix well and serve.

Tip:  Green papaya is available in an Asian store near you.

Effortless Vegan Chocolate Pie

Chocolate Pie
This recipe was introduced to me by my son’s friend and I enjoyed it very much. It’s easy, fast, and heart-healthy.  It’s impressive how adaptive young people are to new ideas and recipes.

Cooking Difficulty Level: Easy
Cooking Time: 15 Minutes (Plus 6 hours in fridge)
Recipe Type: Vegan

1                                 Graham cracker pie crust ready made

1 Package One Package Baker’s Semi-Sweet or
Sweet Chocolate Bar
1 Teaspoon One tsp Vanilla
1 14 Oz. Package One 14 Ounce Silky Tofu
White Chocolate & Raspberries to Garnish
Cool Whip Optional

How to Prepare:

  1. In a glass bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave for one minute.
  2. Using an electric mixer, blend the vanilla and tofu into the melted chocolate until smooth and creamy.
  3. Let it set in a refrigerator for 6 hours.
  4. Garnish with raspberry and shaved white chocolate.

Ridge Gourd (Loofah!) Chutney


Ridge Gourd Chutney
No meal with complete without chutney. It is a must-have condiment that is tantalizing to the taste buds and also packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Chutney tastes very good with meals or you can use it as a sandwich spread. Foodies will enjoy making this recipe as a novel addition for many dishes.
The Ridge Gourd is also known as a “loofah”–yes, the same loofah you use in the shower! When they aren’t all dried out, they’re similar to cucumbers, but more fibrous.
Peel of Ridge Gourd
Ridge Gourd Chutney


3 Peels Ridge Gourds (fresh ones are always better)
1 Small Piece Ginger
1 Small Green Chili
2 TBsp Peanuts
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tsp Lemon Juice
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste (optional)
How to Prepare:
  1. Wash the peel of the Ridge Gourds thoroughly.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients and blend the mixture well in a blender.
  3. Enjoy!

Falafel Sandwich

I love food so naturally I love to dine at fancy restaurants.  There’s something so special about being served on white linen and I savor a fine cup of coffee with dessert.  But there is one exception to my usual preference for fine dining: the falafel sandwiches served at a certain fast food restaurant around the corner.
For those of you not familiar with falafel, it is basically when you take fried balls made from chickpeas or fava beans and put them in a pita pocket  (as you can see in the picture above).
My family is my fan club. My friends and my cousins favor falafel over any food item from India. It is bit time consuming but it’s all worth it.
I am sharing my recipe with you. I don’t know if it can be called authentic or not, but I enjoy it every time I make it.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: Approximately 1 Hour
Serves: 4-5

Falafel Patties or Balls



  • 2 Cups Lentils
  • 1 Cup Dried (not canned) Chickpeas
  • 1 Head of Lettuce (washed and chopped – can be mixed with romaine for extra nutrition)
  • 1 Bunch Parsley
  • 1-3 Green Chili Peppers (or Jalapeños)
  • 1 Small Fresh Ginger
  • 4-5 Cloves of Peeled Garlic
  • 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Coriander Seeds

Wash lentil and chickpeas very thoroughly and check for stones.

How to Prepare:

  1. Soak lentil and chickpeas for at least three hours in warm water.
  2. Cut and chop parsley, green chili, ginger, and fresh garlic.
  3. Add salt, cumin, coriander seeds, and red pepper flakes.
  4. Grind all of ingredients together to make a batter.
  5. Heat the oil on medium in a frying pan.
  6. Make small balls from batter and us a teaspoon to drop them into hot oil.
  7. Once fried, the falafel balls/patties are ready for the sandwich.

Sauce recipes below:

Green Tahini Sauce
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro (washed & chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Cup Cucumber (chopped garden or seedless)
  • 1 Small Ginger and Chili (to your taste)
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream or Drained Yogurt or Garlic Cucumber Dressing with Buttermilk (from store)
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3-5 Cloves Garlic

Blend all ingredients together. Now your green sauce is ready for the Falafel sandwich.

Red Sauce

4-5 Cloves Fresh Peeled Garlic
1 Red Hot Chili or Red Bell Pepper (for mild taste)
Salt to taste
10 Oz. Tomato Sauce Can
2 TBsp Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBsp Lemon Juice
2 TBsp Ketchup

Blend all ingredients together. Your red spicy or mild sauce is ready for you.


  • Pita pockets are very tasty and come in a variety of flavors. I either pop them in the toaster and or warm them at 200º in a toaster oven until till they puff up.
  • Usually I mix two different kind of lettuce: Romaine and head lettuce.
  • Top everything off with 3-4 washed and cubed tomatoes.

I am pretty sure you will enjoy this dish over and over again. I also enjoy Baba Ganoush, Hummus, and Parsley Salad with Tahini and Spicy Garlic Sauce. Because of my culinary curiosity, I always come home to my kitchen and make these things with my selected ingredients.

Upama Cream of Wheat

This is a tasty breakfast for everyday because it is so fast to whip up. The people of Gujarat and Southern India love this dish so much that it is served as a staple daily.

Cooking Preparation Time: 25 Minutes
Serves: 4-5


4 TBsp Oil
1 Cup Cream of Wheat
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Tsp Urad Dal
6 Curry Leaves
1/2 TBsp Ginger
1/2 TBsp Green Chili, minced
Chopped Coriander
3/4 Cups Frozen Corn
Salt to taste
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1 1/2 Cups Yogurt
1 1/2 Cups Water

How to Prepare:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
  2. Roast mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves green chili.
  3. Add cream of wheat (called suji) and roast until golden brown. Do not overcook.
  4. Add salt, turmeric and corn.
  5. Mix water and yogurt together. Gently stir yogurt water into mixture.
  6. Stir well so it does not form any lumps.
  7. Let it cook for 3 minutes over low heat.
  8. To garnish, add some chopped cilantro leaves at the bottom of the bowl.
  9. Now pour the cooked upama into the bowl. Gently press.
  10. Flip over onto a plate.
  11. If desired serve with cilantro chutney.

Tips: Cream of wheat uses less water. Suji from the Indian Grocery store sometimes uses little bit more water. Adjust water accordingly.

3 Rules of A Clean Fridge

A clean and organized refrigerator is not only fresh and healthy, but it makes you a better homemaker. This is because when everything is stacked neatly, you’ll not only be able to find items easier, but you’ll find yourself more inspired. Try these pointers to make you a pro chef in the kitchen!
messy refrigrator

Dangers of a Messy Fridge:

We live in a time of convenience and your fridge is definitely there for your convenience. It’s meant to keep food fresh, safe, and tasty.  But not only do you sacrifice the nutritional value of food by storing it too long, but the danger of improper food storage is very high. This is true of both raw and cooked food. Did you know the fridge is the biggest breeding ground of bacteria in your house?
In most houses, the fridge gets overcrowded by plastic containers filled with leftovers, frozen veggies, dressings, sauces etc., all saved with the hope that we will use them some day. However, you can’t risk the food-borne illness and food poisoning that may result from your messy fridge. Here are the rules I follow to stay safe and sane…

Rule #1: Prevent Overbuying:

Before going grocery shopping, check that you are not buying items you already have. Also, try shopping one day later than planned – you’ll find you end up using up a lot of stuff you already have in the house and waste less.

Rule #2: Don’t Keep Food Too Long:

When in doubt, toss the item.  Chances are you will never use it. To be more precise, it’s a good idea to allot five to ten minutes once a week to glance through your fridge and toss out moldy or expired items.

  • Protip:Keep a marker handy so you can date any home-cooked meals you store in the freezer!  The general rule of thumb is to use frozen meals within one month, otherwise they lose their taste.


  • Also, anything in the freezer that has formed ice crystals means it’s not fresh. Toss it out. NO good.


Rule #3: Clean Your Fridge Means Actually Cleaning:

Sorry, but it’s not enough to just empty out the tupperware and toss the expire mayo. Once a month, you need to grab a clean sponge and wipe down the shelves.

  • Make a solution of lemon juice or baking soda diluted with water to wipe down all shelves and drawers.


  • To prevent foul smells, always start by making sure any onion and garlic is covered completely. Then put coffee grounds (or baking soda) in shallow containers and place them on each shelf.